So, how many of you are getting tired of hearing about Patrick Ness? Yeah, me neither. I love his books to pieces, as evidenced by the booktalks I’ve already writtten about his earlier books A Monster Calls and More Than This. But with The Rest of Us Just Live Here, he writes a new kind of story altogether, a story about ridiculous but awesome YA novels and what must be going on behind the scenes.
This was a challenging story to booktalk, and I probably would share this with classes that I feel have a longer attention span because they’ll need to absorb the premise of the book in order to appreciate the payoff. That being said, I would definitely recommend this book to teen audiences as well as adults. It’s a great story overall, but it will be especially appreciated by fans of YA lit in all its ridiculousness / awesomeness.
Many of you have probably read young adult novels where an ordinary teenager becomes the hero of the story. It starts out as the story of an ordinary teenager who lives in an ordinary town, but then something EXTRAORDINARY happens. Maybe there’s an alien invasion. Maybe people start turning into vampires or zombies. Maybe the ancient gods are having a battle that affects modern-day earth. But this ordinary teenager somehow manages to save the day. Maybe it’s because he’s really smart. Maybe it’s because her hobby was studying vampires, and that made her extra-prepared for vampire attacks. Maybe it’s because he’s related to those ancient gods, or because he’s an alien himself. For whatever reason, this ordinary teenager in an ordinary town turns out to be The Chosen One and manages to save the day.
Now, if you want to read a book about a teenager who turns out to be The Chosen One and saves the day, you go right ahead. But THIS is not that book.
So far, we’ve taken our camera and zoomed in on this one kid who’s heroically fighting against the vampires … or gods, or aliens, or whatever. But now let’s take that camera and zoom out until we can see the whole town. What’s everyone else doing? How are the rest of the people in the town reacting to what’s going on? Do they even KNOW what’s going on? Are they getting bitten by vampires, or blasted by ray guns, or are they just trying to go on with their ordinary lives while this life-or-death battle takes place just a few blocks away?
If you and your friends are ordinary teenagers in an ordinary town where disaster strikes but none of you are The Chosen One, what happens to you? Can your life also be important even if you’re not the hero? This book tells THAT story!